Updated at: 19-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

American ordinary broccoli and a Chinese kind known as gailan have been crossed to create Broccolini, a trademarked hybrid food item. There are several little tender side shoots that have a gentle sweet flavor with peppery undertones instead of a single huge head. You don’t need to peel the broccolini stalks. Some people love the flavor and texture of broccolini, but others think it’s a costly and temperature-sensitive fad crop.

What Is Broccolini?

The Brassicaceae family includes the annual vegetable broccolini.

Chinese kale, also known as gai lan, or European broccoli, is actually a hybrid cross between B. oleracea vars. italica and alboglabra, or Chinese broccoli.

How to Grow Broccolini | Gardener's Path

However, unlike its larger-headed cousin, Broccolini’s slender sensitive stems produce many little flowering shoots.

The curly green leaves, the little florets, and the long stalks of the plant are all edible.

Steamed, stir-fried, or eaten raw in salads, it is milder and sweeter than broccoli with a mildly peppery flavor.

If you’re looking for a milder alternative to broccoli, go no farther than B. rapa, which also goes by the name of broccoli rabe (or, more commonly, rapini).

Cultivation and History

Sakata Seed Company first commercially cultivated broccolini in Mexico in 1994 as a hybrid. It is a newbie to the garden scene.

Because of the resemblance to asparagus of the thin edible stems, the new hybrid was given the name aspabroc.

In 1996, Sakata Seed Company and Mann Packing Company partnered to rebrand the product “broccolini” in the United States.

Asparation, tenderstem, sprouting broccoli and baby broccoli are just a few of the numerous names it has gone by in its short existence.


It is hardy from USDA Zones 2 to 10 for broccolini.

When the ground thaws in the spring, it can be planted. In colder places, you may want to wait until all the risk of frost has passed before planting this variety.

It’s recommended to start broccolini from seed rather than straight sowing.

A local nursery or garden center can either supply you with seedlings that you can plant in your garden, or you can start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before your normal last frost date.

Using a grow light, plant 3-4 seeds in each pot at 1/4-inch depth in a well-balanced potting soil. Seeds should sprout within 7 to 10 days.

Remove all but the strongest and healthiest plants from each pot after a few weeks.

Set the remaining seedlings outside for longer and longer lengths of time over the course of a week before transplanting.

As soon as the seedlings have six to eight genuine leaves, transplant them into the garden.

For a fall crop, you can also start seeds indoors or on a covered porch in pots in the late summer.

Transplant seedlings into the garden when they have 6-8 true leaves, just like you would with spring starts.

Compost-enriched garden soil should be used for planting seedlings outside, about half an inch deeper than they were in the pots. Rows should be 2 feet apart, with plants spaced around a foot apart.

Sow seeds in rows 12 to 14 inches apart in garden soil enriched with compost if you intend to try direct-sowing. Cover each 1/4-inch-deep hole with soil and plant a broccolini seed.

Thinning should begin as soon as the seedlings are visible.

How to Grow

Due to a lack of information on the best circumstances for producing broccolini, it can be a bit of a challenge.

Although it is not as cold hardy as its progenitor, it is generally regarded as a cool-weather crop with similar growing requirements to broccoli.

In full sun, well-drained soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0, it thrives. A few inches of compost or old manure can be added to the soil before planting.

A thick layer of straw or chopped leaves on top will aid in moisture retention, weed suppression, erosion reduction and soil temperature regulation.

Broccolini is a thirsty plant, requiring at least one to two inches of water every week. The soil should be hydrated every few days or when the top layer appears dry. Soak the dirt until it’s damp, but not soggy.

Organic liquid fertilizers like Dr. Earth Pure Gold All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer, available at Nature Hills Nursery, are another option.

Fertilizer Dr. Earth Pure Gold All Purpose Liquid

Nitrogen insufficiency is an indication of yellowing leaves. Additionally, you have the option of applying liquid feed on a weekly or biweekly basis, which will provide plants with an extra dose of nitrogen and aid in the growth and resilience of your crop.

Using a shovel, push soil up to the first huge leaves of plants that are 8 to 10 inches tall.

Side shoots will be more likely to form as a result of this. The side shoots are the section that is harvested, thus this is very significant.

Growing Tips

  • Plant in a soil that has been enriched with compost or manure.
  • Compost should be added to each planting hole prior to transplanting.
  • Reduce weeds and keep soil temperature stable by mulching.
  • Each week, add 1 to 2 inches of water.
  • Every few weeks, or when the leaves begin to turn yellow, apply compost tea or organic fertilizer to the foliage.
  • To foster the development of side branches, push dirt up around the stems of plants as they grow.

Cultivars to Select

Broccolini is a trademarked term that is distributed mostly to commercial producers, thus finding a source might be difficult. Other names for ‘Broccolini’ cultivars exist, even though there is only one genuine ‘Broccolini’ cultivar.

There are several varieties of baby, tenderstem or sprouting broccoli seedlings and seeds available.


You may have difficulty finding seeds for the patented “Broccolini” cultivar because it is mostly sold for commercial use.

Growing Broccoli Rabe and Baby Broccoli in Your Spring Garden


This original type has a very sweet flavor and texture and is both high yielding and delectable from the top to the bottom.

Park Seed offers 20-seed packages for sale. They’re available for purchase on Amazon.

Royal Tenderette

This early-season crop produces a lot of tiny flowers. After each harvest, new shoots emerge, allowing for a total of two to three harvests every month.

Tenderette referred to as the “Royal Tenderette”

When prepared either raw or sautéed, the soft shoots are a delectable vegetable.

From Burpee, you can get the fast-growing baby broccoli in either 50-seed packets or 12 live plants ready for transplantation.


When it comes to cultivars, this one is an excellent choice for fall harvesting.


You may eat it raw, roasted, cooked, or steamed in a variety of ways.

A dozen ‘Montebello’ live plants are available for purchase from Burpee.


‘Burgundy,’ a purple sprouting broccoli, is a great way to add some color to your plate. On this unusual hybrid, the purple florets and pale green stems provide for a striking visual contrast.


These shoots can be eaten directly out of the plant!

Burpee offers a 12-pack of ready-to-plant vegetable seeds.

Managing Pests and Disease

The same issues that plague broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can be found in this new hybrid variety.

Make sure you avoid planting in the same place where previous years’ brassicas have grown. Bacterial diseases can be prevented by growing broccolini in a separate area from other cole crops.


With a few basic measures, it is possible to keep pests at bay in broccolini crops.


Insects with soft bodies that feed on tree sap and vegetation. They are very fond of sprouting growth.

Many aphids can be found on the underside of leaves. Look for yellowing, curled, or stunted leaves. Aphids leave behind a sticky “honeydew” that attracts other bugs and encourages mold growth.

The leaves can be washed away with a strong stream of water from the sprinkler.

Insecticidal soap prepared from biodegradable dish soap, water, and garlic can also be used as a spray. Let a quart of water immerse two garlic bulbs overnight after crushing or blending the bulbs. Add a teaspoon of biodegradable dish soap to the strained mixture.

Aphid control information can be found here.

Cabbage Loopers

Brassica caterpillars are little green caterpillars that may eat through the leaves of brassica plants, causing a lot of damage. The more they eat, the bigger they get and the more harm they do, so it’s best to capture them early.

If you see caterpillars, you can either pluck them off by hand or use food-grade diatomaceous earth on and around infested plants.

Treat the little green eggs and silky cocoons that emerge on stems or the undersides of leaves with diatomaceous earth to prevent the larvae from hatching.

Floating row covers can also be used to keep moths away from your plants so they don’t deposit their eggs there.

Find out more about battling cabbage loopers by visiting this page.

Flea Beetles

These tiny jumping insects can eat small holes in leaves with their tiny mouthparts. Plants’ roots and the soil may also be covered in tiny white eggs.

Serious pests can decimate a garden’s crops, and they can swiftly spread to other parts of the property.

Floating row coverings around early seedlings can be quite useful if flea beetles are a problem for you.

You can also use diatomaceous earth or neem oil to treat crops that have been infected.

Here’s more information on how to deal with flea beetles.

Root Maggots

They deposit eggs near the base of young plants and feed on the roots, causing the plants to deteriorate and even die.

Damaged roots and wilting leaves are signs of a plant that is in need of attention.

Infested plants should be removed and destroyed as soon as you detect them.

Find out how to recognize and eliminate cabbage root maggots by reading this article.


In damp conditions, these slithering, soft-bodied insects are more likely to appear. In a short period of time, they are capable of eating big holes in leaves and doing significant harm to vegetation. Slugs and snails may do a lot of damage to your crops, so it’s important to take precautions.

If you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you can try picking slugs by hand or burying glasses of cheap beer about your garden beds. Slugs will fall into the cups and drown because of the beer’s enticing aroma.

Garlic oil or copper can also be used as a deterrent to keep pests away from crops. Cole crops slug management information can be found at this link.

Installing floating row covers or spraying food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of your crops can help lessen the likelihood of problems.

Rotate your crops on a regular basis to keep pests at bay.


Be on the watch for disease symptoms and take preventative actions like weeding periodically to decrease plant crowding and prevent an excessive buildup of moisture. Regularly.

Black Leg

Cole crops are frequently infected by this common fungus, which causes leaf discoloration and dark blotches. It thrives in moist, humid environments and may survive the winter in the ground or on plant waste.

Plant debris must be destroyed at the end of the season to prevent the spread of this fungus and because there is no effective treatment for it.

Cutting back on watering and allowing leaves to dry out completely between irrigation will help keep your garden free of disease.

Black Rot

This is a bacterial disease that causes the leaves to wilt and die, emitting a terrible stench and darkening the veins of the leaves. It thrives in humid, warm environments, and is particularly common in overcrowding in garden beds.

The easiest method to deal with black rot is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Crops should be planted in well-draining soils, rotated frequently to avoid overwatering, and any sick plants should be removed and destroyed.

Downy Mildew

This disease develops yellow or brown patches on leaves that are covered in white mold when the weather is damp and humid. Leaf loss and stunting are possible side effects. Downy mildew-infected plants should be removed and destroyed.

By weeding and thinning to prevent overcrowding and enhance airflow, you can reduce the danger of infection.

You can also water early in the morning to allow the foliage to dry out during the day and reduce its susceptibility to mold.


When it comes to picking broccolini, there are a few processes.

As soon as the primary heads have formed, but before they’ve began to divide into individual flowers, you should begin the harvest procedure.

The color of the leaves should be a vivid shade of green. The flavor will be lost if the heads begin to wilt and the leaves begin to yellow during harvest time.

Start by cutting the main crown and about 6 inches of stem.

First, cut around 6 inches off of the main crown and the rest of the stem.


Broccolini can be preserved in a simple and convenient manner by freezing. After harvesting, remove any dirt from the shoots and cut each one into bite-sized pieces.

Next, blanch the pieces by putting them in hot water for a few seconds at a time. When you remove the pieces from the water, put them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain them and let them sit in the ice water for a few minutes.

Broccolini-Plant. Also called BIMI A natural hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale Super vegetable | Plants, Mediterranean garden, Plant leaves

Drain them completely before putting them in the freezer.

You can avoid the pieces from sticking together by freezing them one by one on a baking sheet. Pack them into freezer-safe bags or airtight containers once they’ve been frozen for long-term preservation.

Remove a handful from the freezer when you’re ready to cook and toss it into your pan or steamer!

It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week in a sealed plastic bag for shorter-term storage. Wait until you’re ready to use it before washing it.

Recipes and Cooking Ideas

Broccolini is a flexible vegetable in the kitchen because it may be eaten raw or cooked, and it can either be sweet or mild.

There is an earthy sweetness to the leaves, stalks and flowers. There is no peeling required for the stalks, which resemble asparagus in appearance but taste more like milder broccoli.

Tossed with a dip, grilled or sautéed in any way is an excellent way to enjoy this veggie.

I love to whip up a quick and simple stir fry of broccolini with butter, garlic, and a dash of lemon juice.

My favorite way to prepare broccolini is in a butter, garlic, and lemon juice stir fry.

Quick Reference Growing Guide

Put a Twist on Broccoli

After several seasons of trial, you’ll be rewarded with a tender and flavorful harvest.

For a change of pace this season, why not plant some young, hip broccolini?

Try growing broccolini in the garden if you have not already. Do you have any words of wisdom to share? Don’t forget to tell us what growth Zone you’re in when you leave a remark below.


Cool temperatures, somewhat low acidity (soil pH 6.0 to 7.0), and lots of water and nitrogen are the ideal conditions for broccolini. Compost or well-rotted manure, up to two inches, should be applied to the soil. Small amounts of wood ashes can be sprinkled around each broccolini transplant if the soil is too acidic. Start seeds indoors and set them outside when they are 4-6 weeks old. Make sure your transplants are spaced at least 24 inches apart and buried at least a half inch deeper than they were in their pots. Direct seed clover after transplantation or cover them with grass clippings (from a lawn that has not been sprayed with herbicides) to provide shade, enhance the soil, and deter weeds.

Cool temperatures, somewhat low acidity (soil pH 6.0 to 7.0), and lots of water and nitrogen are the ideal conditions for broccolini. Compost or well-rotted manure, up to two inches, should be applied to the soil. Small amounts of wood ashes can be sprinkled around each broccolini transplant if the soil is too acidic. Start seeds indoors and set them outside when they are 4-6 weeks old. Make sure your transplants are spaced at least 24 inches apart and buried at least a half inch deeper than they were in their pots. Direct seed clover after transplantation or cover them with grass clippings (from a lawn that has not been sprayed with herbicides) to provide shade, enhance the soil, and deter weeds.


Broccolini and other cole crops are vulnerable to the same pests and diseases. Don’t plant it in an area where broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, or their relatives have been cultivated in the last four years to avoid pest and disease problems.

It’s possible you have an aphid or whitefly infestation if your broccolini leaves curl, pucker, and turn yellow. See if you can find any small soft-bodied green, brown, or pink insects on the undersides of your leafy plants. Organic insecticidal soap can be used to kill aphids that have been selected by hand. Aphids are consumed by ladybugs. Whiteflies can be killed using soap.

Cabbage loopers, often known as cabbage worms, are thought to be the source of ragged holes in leaves. If you can’t find them, use Bacillus thuringiensis to get rid of them. Slugs may potentially be to blame for the occurrence of these symptoms. Set jars of water mixed with beer or yeast in your garden if you have a slug problem. An appealing scent is what will draw Slugs into the water, where they will drown. If you have a lot of cabbage worms, you may wish to try to attract birds and snakes.

Flea beetles are most likely to blame for the small holes in your leaves. Vegetable weevils may be to blame if a leaf is bitten all the way to the stem. These pests may be controlled with pyrethrum spray. Spray pyrethrum in the evening, when pollinators are less busy, as it is both organic and harmful to bees.

Downy mildew is characterized by yellowish patches on leaves that develop white mold in damp weather. The initial signs of black leg are dark areas with black dots on leaves and stems, as well as wilted bluish or reddish leaves. When the stem is girdled by sunken spots, it collapses. Copper or Bacillus subtilis can be used as organic fungicides if you catch these illnesses early. Remove and kill (do not compost) damaged plants if they are already mature.

Growing Tips for Sakata Vegetables' 'Aspabroc' Broccolini - Greenhouse Grower


Raw broccolini is thought to have the strongest flavor. It can also be steamed like broccoli. Whether you’re making soup, steamed vegetables, stir-fries, or calzone fillings, you may use it in any of these ways.


Take a look at these resources:

From the Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center’s Broccolini

Flickr photo by K. B. R. under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.